There is a saying an old Khmer proverb in Cambodia that goes, “lbaeng taeng vineah (Khmer: ល្បែងតែងវិនាស)”. This roughly translates to “Gambling destroys Life” and as such, gambling is illegal in the country.
Gambling had been illegal since the reign of the Khmer Rouge. But in the 1990s the government decided to start building casinos near the border to attract foreigners, especially the Thais and the Vietnamese, to cross over and play while prohibiting the locals from enjoying the same leisure. This had proven to be successful as the country enjoyed great revenue from the existence of these border casinos considered now to be a cash cow the Cambodian government could not live without.
Although a 50,000 Riel and a 1 month prison term has been stipulated as the penalty for gambling, locals still continue to gamble while the government looks the other way. Locals enter the casinos freely without any fuss whatsoever. But this is not at all surprising because apart from the aforementioned revenue that casinos generate, there is a Cambodian belief that a man who does not gamble is not masculine enough.
The more popular border casino strips are Bavet on the Vietnamese border and Poipet on the Thai boundary.
However, NagaWorld, located at the heart of Phnom Penh, is the undisputed king of casinos in Cambodia. Having a monopoly over a 200km2 radius of the capital, NagaWorld is the main casino to go to in South Indochina.
And being the most popular of all, and with the growing popularity of poker, Nagaworld is the only legal recourse to play the game in the Kingdom. But their offering is quite unsatisfactory as they normally hold only about 2 tables with a $1/$2 limit every day.
Because of the limited options for poker in Cambodia, unauthorized venues are available and can easily be found especially in the capital.
Article by Gabrielle Barredo
Capital: Phnom Penh
Population: 15 million
Currency: Riel / US Dollars
Calling code: +85
Time zone: (UTC +7)
Online rooms: Access to all major poker sites
Internet: Average quality. Possible disconnections 3G stick recommended.
Live poker: Only foreigners are allowed to enter casinos but Cambodia’s gambling law is loosely enforced.
Online poker: No regulation. No Restriction
Online Payment: Skrill, Neteller & paysafecard